More than 5,800 United States Postal Service (USPS) carriers have been threatened with “aggressive dog behavior” over the past year, causing the agency to worry.
The carriers have faced everything from “bites and bites to vicious attacks,” according to the government agency’s annual report.
Houston, Texas, with about 73 reported attacks, tops the list, according to the USPS, which ranked the most dog attacks by city. Just behind Chicago with 59, Los Angeles with 54 and Denver with 44.
Overall, however, California has had the most attacks – 782 – of the 50 states.
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“I knocked on a customer’s door to pick up a parcel and as a young child answered, a dog came out of the door and bit my forearm, causing me to fall to the floor,” Kansas-based postman James Michael Benson said. “I was in shock and struggling with the dog, when he rushed over and bit me in the face again, under my ear.”
In order to draw attention to “the enormity of this serious problem,” the USPS has released tips on how to be a responsible dog owner. This is part of the agency’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign, which runs until June 18.
Jamie Seavello, USPS acting employee safety and health awareness manager, said calling attention to dog bite prevention is “of the utmost importance.”
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âDogs are instinctive animals that can act to protect their territory and that is why it is important to educate the public about this campaign,â Seavello said.
The agency stressed that even a bite is “too much”.
To prevent attacks, the USPS says owners should make sure their dog is secure when the carrier approaches with the courier, minimizing “all interactions with the dog carrier.” Dogs should be kept inside the house or behind a fence, away from the gate, in another room, or on a leash, the USPS said.
Owners should also ensure that children do not take mail directly from the carrier, as the “dog may view the carrier as a threat”.
“Even though postal officers ask customers to control their dogs, unfortunately dog ââbites still occur, which can cause injuries to our carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners,” said the USPS in its report.
Here are the top 10 cities with the most dog attacks, according to the USPS:
- Houston, Texas 73
- Chicago, Illinois 59
- Los Angeles, California 54
- Cleveland, Ohio 46
- Denver, Colorado 44
- Baltimore, Maryland 43
- Dallas, Texas 38
- Columbus, Ohio 37
- San Antonio, Texas 36
- San Diego, California 35